SpaceX put on a quite a show in the sky above Southern California Friday evening, as a Falcon 9 rocket slowly streaked across the night sky while curious onlookers snapped photos and recorded videos.
According to Tech Crunch, SpaceX launched its rocket from its launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the mission parameters didn’t include attempting a rocket recovery of the first stage. The first stage underwent a landing sequence as it does when a recovery is attempted, but there was no drone landing ship in the Pacific Ocean to catch it when it touched down.
The rocket was carrying 10 low-orbit satellites from Iridium Communications. The launch reportedly went exactly as planned.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 23, 2017
People from Southern California called authorities in fear of what the bright, white streak could be. Some speculated the “strange light” was a UFO, or perhaps a celestial phenomena such as a comet or meteor; others suggested the object was a bomb or missile.
A short time after its appearance, multiple local law enforcement agencies confirmed the flash of light was from the rocket launch, which blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base along California’s Central Coast.